March 7, 1950 (21st Parliament, 2nd Session)


Major James William Coldwell

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. M. J. Coldwell (Roseiown-Biggar):

Mr. Speaker, my first word must be to say that we support the reference of these estimates, as proposed by the Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr. Pearson), to the standing committee on external affairs. I believe that the house should be supplied with all available information that can be given to hon. members from time to time in order that we may understand, better than we have in the past, the external relations of this country and the international situation. I am glad indeed to note that there is a greater interest in external affairs in this parliament than in former parliaments. In the days before the last war we usually had a debate for half a day which was most often asked for by the former leader of the C.C.F., Mr. J. S. Woodsworth, and it usually petered out in a few hours. It is indeed good to see the house interested in this subject as evidenced by those who were here on Friday last, although I was absent myself, and again today.
I was hoping that the debate today might range over a rather wider field than the relationship between Canada and China. It has taken that course, however, and I propose to say something about the situation a little later. What I should like to say first of all is that too often in the past and even at the present time we have been inclined to discuss international affairs apart from certain economic realities. After all, I think we should have learned by this time that economic realities are responsible to a greater degree than possibly we have appreciated in the past for the political and other disturbances that arise internationally. In my remarks I do not intend to confine myself to one type of totalitarianism because in the past twenty-five years we have seen two types, that which is called soviet communism and that which is called fascism. The seeds of both have been implanted deeply in the world and are still there, and we cannot tell when fascism may appear again in opposition to communism.
For a good many years we have tried to drive home the fact that we must pay attention to the economic conditions all over the world, including those in our own country. It was out of the misery and oppression of the czarist regime that the present form
[Mr. Drew.l
of communism arose in Russia and spread across the world. It was out of the misery and poverty of the Italian people that Mussolini was able to organize the march on Rome and set up the fascist regime. It was equally out of the unemployment and misery of the German people that Hitler and his nazi party, to our sorrow, were able to rise and obtain power in that great country.
Today the threat of communism is serious because millions of people in the world are existing in the direst poverty, misery and want. In a dispatch, for example, from London, dated March 6, Lord Boyd Orr, the former director general of the United Nations food and agricultural organization-and incidentally the 1949 Nobel peace prize winner- is reported to have said:
Hunger and not politics is responsible for the spread of communism in Asia.
May I point out that we have also been saying the same thing continually over the years. I recollect that in discussing the government's white paper on the war appropriation bill in April of 1945 I said:
No financial agreement can be successful unless a solution is found for the distribution of the real wealth of the world, across the world, and for raising standards of living everywhere in the world. This world cannot remain at peace; this world cannot remain free, as we call free, if one-half of the world is underfed, underclothed, underhoused and, indeed, underprivileged in any respect.
We believe that. We have tried to bring this truth before the House of Commons and the country again and again. I believe it is because nations have failed throughout the years to meet this fundamental requirement of human existence that we are faced with the serious challenge of soviet communism all over the world today. We know that the acceptance of such communism by depressed peoples involves a surrender of something that we consider to be very precious indeed, freedom of speech, freedom of thought and freedom of worship, which are the very fundamentals of the kind of democracy in which we believe. We may discuss plans for military rearmament, and unfortunately we must; we may set aside vast appropriations for the building up of war supplies, for the making of atomic bombs and all the rest of it. But we shall not have met the challenge of totalitarian communist or fascist propaganda until we have improved the standards of life for millions of people all over the world. Under present circumstances and because of our past failures we have to play our part-and I am not complaining about it-among the democratic nations of the world in preparing to defend our free institutions and our democratic way of life if they are threatened by military aggression. But if we fail to play our part in the removal of poverty, misery and

want in our own country and elsewhere we shall lose the battle in which we are now engaged. I think this is the fundamental position from which we should view Canada's international relations.
A great deal of discussion has taken place in the house today and on Friday last about the recognition of China. The article by Professor Lauterpacht, K.C., F.B.A., professor of international law at the university of Cambridge, which was published in the London Times, has been referred to on several occasions. What did he point out therein? He pointed out that the problem of recognition of governments is one of the crucial issues of international law. I think we all agree with that. He said that to decline to recognize a government is to withhold from the community which it governs most of the advantages of international law. It involves, among other things, a refusal to acknowledge the validity of its legislative and judicial acts; and the denial to it and its organs of the ordinary jurisdictional immunities. On the other side it involves the government refusing recognition in a series of difficulties since it is unable to use the ordinary international methods of protecting its own nationals and interests in territory controlled by the governments which it refuses to recognize.
And if I may quote directly, he says this:
There are some who maintain that, all this notwithstanding. recognition is a purely discretionary act of policy-an act of grace which may be withheld at pleasure and may legitimately be used as a weapon of political intervention or of economic pressure. There is no support for any such view in the bulk of the practice of this-
That is, the United Kingdom.
-and other countries. On the contrary, overwhelming authority points to the fact that, provided that the conditions presented by international law are fulfilled, there is a legal duty to recognize.
Then he goes on to discuss what are those fundamental conditions of international law. First of all he says that recognition is of course a declaration of an existing fact. Once a revolutionary government enjoys the obedience of the mass of the population and is in effective control of the bulk of the territory, it is entitled to recognition. Then he adds, and again I quote directly:
Its revolutionary origin or the method of the revolutionary change is irrelevant.
Then, second, he says that recognition of a revolutionary government is prohibited so long as the lawful government has a reasonable prospect of reasserting its authority; and I do not think anyone will contend that at the present moment the former lawful or legal government of China has any possibility of regaining control over its territory. Then he goes on to say, thirdly:
The government, by consent of the governed, is not a condition, though it was insisted upon in the
External Affairs
early part of the present century. It was abandoned after the first world war and is not at present part of the law.
He also stated there was an impression that a lawful government holding out in one isolated fortress-perhaps I should have said this earlier-is entitled to continued recognition de jure; and went on to say that to hold this view was to strain to the breaking point an otherwise unimpeachable rule. Then he said that it was a question of fact, to be ascertained in good faith, whether the authority of the lawful government has become purely nominal; but it was the fourth point to which the leader of the opposition (Mr. Drew) drew attention on Friday evening, and I quote from page 460 of Hansard where he is reported as saying:
I should like to read that fourth point again.
"There is finally the question of the willingness to fulfil international obligations and of assurances to be given to that effect by the government recognition of which is under consideration."
Even if the first three conditions were met, a question might well be asked as to whether the fourth condition can be met at the present time by the Mao regime in China.
Well, what does Professor Lauterpacht say? At the risk of reading a little more than I usually do I am going to quote the paragraph which refers to this fourth point. I think it is important, particularly since that point was under discussion, and since the other day I suggested that the time had come when we should recognize the new government of China. He says:
There is, finally, the question of the willingness to fulfil international obligations and of assurances to be given to that effect by the government recognition of which is under consideration.
He goes on to say, and this is important:
That particular test of recognition has been often resorted to, and has recently loomed large in the public discussion, including leading articles in The Times. But it is extremely doubtful whether it is a sound test and whether it forms part of international law. It was absent from British practice in the nineteenth century. It is a condition of recognition which has often been abused, in relation to weak governments, for the purpose of extracting unilateral advantages and concessions. In relation to the government of a large state its futility is obvious, for it is a clear rule of international law that a newly-recognized government is bound by the obligations of its predecessor and of international law generally.
No special assurances are required. Neither can it be expected that the government of a great state-will be induced to give them unless on a basis of mutuality and equality. The value of any such assurance, if not accompanied by good will, is insignificant. The proper course is to assume that the government of a sovereign state will fulfil its obligations in good faith. Failing that, it is open toother states to adopt such methods of persuasion as circumstances and international law permit.
There I think we have an explanation of the fourth point, to which reference has been made. Then he goes on to say something else I should like to quote:

External Affairs
The distinction must be asserted between recognizing a government and entering into diplomatic relations with it. No state is legally obliged to enter into and maintain diplomatic relations with a state or government which it recognizes. On the other hand, it cannot enter into full and normal diplomatic relations with a state or government which it does not recognize.
Recognition of a new governmental authority, accompanied as it must be by automatic withdrawal of recognition from its predecessor, necessitates an invidious decision which, in relation to old friends, may be distasteful and not free from anxiety. But decisions of this nature are unavoidable. They do not become easier by dint of being postponed.
Then he adds this:
It may be of importance, in the case now before His Majesty's government-
That is, recognition of China.
-to reassure public opinion that the decision at which they have arrived is not arbitrary or intended to minister to what may be a transient advantage, but that it is in accordance with principle and with the practice of enlightened nations, including that of our closest friend and ally.
The reference there is to something he said a little earlier in the same article in regard to the historical background of the United States with respect to the recognition of revolutionary governments. Apparently the London Times agreed with this view that China should be recognized because of the conditions laid down in this article, and because of the necessity. Indeed I have here a report which appeared in our local newspapers as an Associated Press dispatch dated London, January 7, the day after the British government granted recognition to the new Chinese government. These are the main points in the dispatch: The British press, in a chorus of
approval, greeted Britain's recognition of the new government of China. All papers, including Labour and Conservative, gave approval. Lord Beaverbrook's Daily Express termed the recognition wise. The London Times said Britain was accepting a communist regime in China as she already had done in Russia, but would resist any attempt by the Chinese government to enforce communism on other countries.
Thus we see that in a country with long experience in international matters and the way these things are done in the field of international affairs, all the newspapers from the London Times through to the Daily Herald, the Labour paper, welcomed recognition and approved of it. Consequently I say that under international law, and in the interests of their own nationals, this recognition was granted.
This afternoon the leader of the opposition (Mr. Drew) referred to the article by Mr. Anthony Eden which appeared some ten or twelve days after recognition had been granted. But note this, for it is on the record: If one reads Mr. Eden's article, one finds that what he was criticizing was not the recognition of China as such, but the timing of that

recognition. He was deploring the fact that all the commonwealth nations, indeed all the nations with interests in the Pacific, did not act together. As the leader of the opposition indicated when he read the article, and as the Secretary of State for External Affairs pointed out in his speech, Mr. Eden stated that recognition was inescapable. It had to come. The only criticism he made was of the timing of that recognition. Mr. Eden thought a common policy should have been agreed upon. I know that for a long time that had been the position of the British Conservative party. They had always thought that there should be an imperial foreign policy, which would be controlled from one central point. None of the commonwealth nations, at least in the last 25 or 30 years, have felt inclined to co-operate in sending representatives to one point, or in the setting up of any organization, which would bring about a common foreign policy of this description.
I am certain of this, that the people of Canada would not have wanted to have this parliament approve of the establishment of a super-cabinet to deal with foreign policy on an imperial basis. I feel that this is a relic of the old plea for an imperial foreign policy, an idea which, fortunately or unfortunately according to one's viewpoint, was discarded long ago. As a matter of fact, even if we liked the idea, it is not possible to put it into effect now, because our economic and geographical circumstances are so different. A policy that is suitable for the United Kingdom would not necessarily be suitable for Canada. Certainly, as we have seen, it would not be acceptable to the new republics of the commonwealth, India and Pakistan. In my opinion it is far better to have the type of commonwealth association we have, an association of free peoples and free governments, than it is to have something rigid, because in time it would break, and we would find ourselves with no real association at all.

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